Dr. John Senior once noted that culture, like agriculture, is the cultivation of the earth in which man grows. The present “earth” has produced its fruit by forming, as C.S. Lewis once said, men without chests. The Church’s mission is cultivation. Centuries of Benedictines cultivated the land because they had as their task the cultivation of the man. A fallow field will still produce fruit. We have been warned about cockle. The mission of St Joseph’s College Seminary is to put the hand to the plow. A holy priesthood engenders the cultus and thus, the culture. But the building of a holy priesthood begins with the building of a man.
The mission of St. Joseph’s College Seminary is to put the hand to the plow. A holy priesthood engenders the cultus and thus, the culture. But the building of a holy priesthood begins with the building of a man.
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A virtue, St. Thomas Aquinas states, is the perfection of a power. A man has diverse powers; and thus the cultivation of those powers into a respective habitus requires diverse means. The virtues, however, are interconnected and therefore must grow together organically (ST I, II, q. 56 a.2 c; ST I, II, q. 65 a. 1 ad 1). For example, a man’s intellectual power is aided or hindered by his appetitive powers. If his will is attached to sin, if his movements are shackled by aberrant passions, he will not pursue the truth with clarity and vigor. Similarly, if his imagination is poisoned and his intellect is anemic, he will have no light by which to guide his voluntary movements. And so when my heart grew embittered and when I was cut to the quick, I was stupid and did not understand, no better than a beast in your sight (Ps. 73). We are not beasts. We are not angels. We are men. The strength (virtus) of a man is won at the price of discipline, and virtue is its reward. Virtue is a habitus from which one acts, rendering acts capable of having facility of movement, genuine creativity, and delight in activity (CCC 1804).

The philosophy of St. Joseph College Seminary, the principles by which decisions are made and executed, is simple. The theological virtues are the perfection of man. They grow in the seedbed of grace. Yet grace builds on and perfects nature. Thus, while we beseech Him for grace, we also act as dispositive causes in the cultivation of the nature. The only manner by which we win the intellectual and moral virtues necessary for the Sacred Priesthood is by discipline, education, and sacrifice in the context of Christian friendship.